The Government is pushing people to work past the age of 65 in a bid to reduce the ever-increasing cost of providing the State pension.
Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe said yesterday a longer working life will be a reality for many people. He said that many citizens are experiencing longer and healthier lives.
The Fuller Working Lives report has made a number of recommendations and the Government will now be asking the Workplace Relation Commission to develop a code of practice for private sector employers, around workers remaining in their jobs for longer periods.
Mr Donohoe said: “Thankfully people are living for longer and they are healthier for longer, there is also a need in many cases for people to work for longer.”
However, the report does not address the anomaly that currently sees people who retire at 65 sign on the dole before receiving the State pension at 66.
Age Action yesterday welcomed the report but said it was a “missed opportunity”.
Eamon Timmins, Age Action CEO, said: “Every year older workers are forced out of their jobs and on to the dole because of mandatory retirement ages.
“There are no proposals to address the anomaly that workers are facing retirement at the age of 65 but unable to claim the State Pension until they turn 66, pushing them onto Jobseeker’s Benefit.”
However, Mr Donohoe said this issue was outside the terms of reference of the report but he added: “In terms of that transitional period at the moment, there is a system in place where people would be able to access a payment through job seekers benefit.
“If they are able to demonstrate that they are able to work and they are still looking for work the current system that is in place makes jobs seekers benefit available for that period.”
But the report did find if the increases in the State pension age are not matched by longer working, future incomes for those retiring before reaching the age of eligibility for the State pension will become an increasingly prevalent issue, with implications across a number of policy areas.
In January, the Government agreed to the establishment of the working group to consider policy around retirement age in both the public and private sectors.
Expenditure on State pensions and relevant supplementary payments is set to rise from €7bn in 2016 to €8.7bn in 2026.
Mr Donohoe said: “Because of the change in demographics of our country we are seeing the cost of the State pension go up year on year.”
He pointed out the Government would be asking Solas to look into setting up training programmes to better meet the needs of people who do want to work longer.
“The Government will be asking the Workplace Relation Commission to develop a code of practice for private sector employers to look at how we can better manage the interest for many of their employees to work longer.”
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